Take stock, stretch cash and cull stuff


POSTED: Friday, December 26, 2008

At the beginning of this year, was one of your goals to get more organized and efficient? How much progress have you made?

This column completes the recap of ideas presented in 2008. Let's see how many you've taken action on.

1. September was National Preparedness Month, and since the hurricane season (May through November) was not yet over, I encouraged you to keep a sense of urgency to insure disaster readiness.

It might seem overwhelming to create a hurricane kit—gathering the needed supplies, food and water, and making it easy to quickly grab important documents, etc.—but the effort is doable when broken down into small tasks.

This preparation is not only for hurricanes and natural disasters, but also for national or personal crises.

How prepared are you? I think you'll find that an ounce of preparation now is worth more than a pound of panic later!

2. To end the year on a satisfying note, I suggested you take a quick inventory of your year to date in each important area in your life (for example, Business, Financial, Health & Fitness, Social, Spiritual).

Did you identify what was accomplished thus far and what more you wanted to do before the end of 2008? Are you happy and satisfied with your year's accomplishments?

3. Due to the economic downturn, in October I shared three time-management principles that can be applied to money:

» Plan: Think out beforehand how money will be spent, for impulse buying can be the death of your budget.

» Eliminate: Stop buying simply out of habit, for certain things you've always bought might not be necessary at all.

» Innovate: Search out options for getting the same result for less money.

Have you been making your money go farther?

4. Since pictures are the story of your life, and since many people have piles or boxes of photos waiting to be put into albums, I encouraged you to take time to organize the story of your life. Sorting and categorizing might be tedious, but can also be a refreshing walk down memory lane.

Are your photos organized so that they can be retrieved and enjoyed?

5. In November I posed the question, “;How much stuff does a man need?”; and offered as insight that classic Leo Tolstoy's short story “;How Much Land Does a Man Need?”;

Are you, like Pahom in the story, content with what you have for only a while? Are you able to bridle the discontent and desire for more new things? Are you focusing on enjoying what you have instead of acquiring more and more? If so, I bet you've found that a man needs far less than what he thinks he does.

The saying “;If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got”; is so true. If you wanted something more out of 2008 and got it, I bet it's because you've done some things differently this year. Good for you!

See you in two weeks—in 2009!


Ruth Wong owns Organization Plus. Her column runs the second and fourth Fridays of each month. Contact her care of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin,

7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813; or e-mail orgplushawaii@ hawaiiantel.net.